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Which Company Takes No. 1?

By Andrea Bizarro, University of Connecticut
Peter Bachiochi, Ph.D., Eastern Connecticut State University

Collegiate and graduate school members of the National Society of Black Engineers NSBE recently ranked the organizations where they would most like to work, resulting in the "NSBE 50", the most preferred employers of NSBE. This year, for the first time, NSBE Professional members were asked the same question.

Continuing the trend from 2012, government and military employers increased in popularity with students. The U.S. Navy rose more than 10 spots, from 46 in 2012 to 29 this year, while the National Institutes of Health made an appearance in the NSBE 50 at No. 49, up from No. 76 in 2012. The Coca-Cola Company reappeared in the NSBE 50 at 45 in 2013. As always, a few employers dropped out of the NSBE 50 this year, including Goldman Sachs and Hewlett-Packard Company.

Interesting differences between male and female top 10 rankings are also present. For women, Google took the top spot, while Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson leapt into the top 10. For men, the top employers were almost identical to the overall rankings.

Differences between men's and women's rankings likely reflect the higher number of female students in chemical engineering and male students in computer science and mechanical engineering. Finally, an interesting distinction existed between undergraduate and graduate students: Boeing ranked No. 1 for undergraduates, but Exxon Mobil Corporation ranked No. 1 for graduate students. Intel ranked 11th for undergraduates but fourth for graduate students.


Although the NSBE 50 has been relatively stable since 2012, there were some notable changes this year. The Boeing Company maintained the No. 1 spot, while Google pulled ahead of Apple to claim No. 2 Apple dropped to third. The top 10 remained relatively unchanged: NASA moved up to 5, while GE fell from fifth to seventh place.

The "NSBE Professionals 50" was slightly different from the students' list. The top 10 were nearly identical, with the exception of Shell at No. 8 for the professional members. Google and Apple were slightly lower among the professionals, at 5 and 6, respectively. GE jumped from seventh among the students to second among the professionals. ExxonMobil came in at No. 3, and NASA dropped from 5 among the students to 10 for NSBE Professionals. Several employers made the NSBE Professionals 50 that were absent from the students' list, including Merck & Co., Inc., which ranked 36th for professional members, and Texas Instruments Incorporated, which ranked 35th for the professionals. Finally, government employers ranked higher for students than for professionals. The United States Navy and United States Army ranked 29th and 31st, respectively, with students, but 46th and 50th, respectively, with professionals.

As expected, as NSBE members graduate and enter the world of full-time work, their opinions about employers change, as they learn more from friends and coworkers. Some organizations that look particularly attractive to students (e.g., Google, Apple) lose some of their appeal, whereas otherswith whom students are less familiar (e.g., Bechtel Corporation, CH2M Hill, Cummins Inc., Eaton Corporation, and United Technologies Corporation) have stronger reputations among the professional members. The findings of this survey inform students about various employers they may not have considered, and it has the potential to point employers to new recruiting and marketing directions, as well.

Calculating the Rankings

During the registration process, NSBE members are asked to identify their top three prospective employers. Organizations listed as first choice are awarded three points, second-choice organizations are awarded two points, and third choices are awarded one point. The points for each employer are tallied and ranked accordingly. The 50 organizations with the most points are included in the NSBE 50. NSBE 50 rankings were received from approximately 4,600 NSBE collegiate members and more than 1,500 NSBE Professional members.